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Dragon Naturally Speaking Review

Updated on September 9, 2008

What is it?

  • Award-winning Voice Recognition Software
  • 99% Accurate
  • Dictate, edit and control applications
  • Easy to use
  • Wireless Microphone and PDA support.

Dragon Naturally Speaking Demo

Dragon NaturallySpeaking allows you to dictate to your computer and have those words appear on your screen. It gives you the freedom to create documents at a faster pace than you would by typing them out on your computer. You can use the software to create documents in a word processor, create and send e-mails, and even surf the web by just using your voice.

I used the software in the past and quite honestly it didn't work for me. It could've been the software's fault or the fact that I'd been using a cheap headset. I decided to give it another chance with the new Plantronics headset that I bought in the following is a review of my experiences with Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 Preferred edition.

Note: There is now Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 - expect better results with the newer version, but my review will still give you a good idea of what to expect.

Get a Copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking 10

Calibrating the Software

The first step in using Dragon NaturallySpeaking after installing it is to calibrate the software to the headset that you are using and the volume of your voice. This involves reading a number of paragraphs of text back to the computer while it adjusts the volume settings on your microphone. For some people this process is rather quick, for others it can take a little time.

Learning the Ropes

I then proceeded to go through the tutorials provided with the software. These tutorials teach you how the software works as well as basic voice commands that you can use while dictating to the computer. They are very well done and follow the same pattern for each of the 14 short lessons.

With each lesson, they explain a simple task to you by voice, show you a demonstration of it in action, and then give you a chance to practice on an example.

After completing the 14 lessons I felt that I had a good grasp of the software, how to use it, and what to expect.

Using the Software

I was amazed at how easy the software is to use. It is a pretty much "hands-free" process, and you only need to turn the microphone on with your hands.

The most noticeable change such a notice on your computer screen is the DragonBar which is usually docked at the top of the desktop. On the Dragon Bar, you find controls to turn on the microphone, change users, increase the software's accuracy, access the help functionality, and access the advanced options.

In most cases, except for turning on the microphone, chances are you won't need to use the DragonBar very often.

Example of program mistakes

Accuracy of Dragon Naturally Speaking

For the most part, Dragon Naturally Speaking is 99% accurate just as their website claims. But from time to time, software has problems determining exactly what you say.

For example, I had a lot of problems with "our" being interpreted by the program as "her". But as time went on, the program seemed to become more accurate at understanding what I was trying to say.

If accuracy is a big problem for you, they do have an option in the DragonBar, the "Accuracy Center", that allows you to train the software to better understand your voice.

The Final Verdict

Overall, I was very impressed with the software product Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Not only was it accurate most of time, but also helps to reduce the amount of strain on your hands as a consequence of extended keyboard use.

The interface was easy-to-use thanks to the tutorials included with the software.

My only complaint was the odd misinterpretation of certain words by the software though that improved the more frequently I use the software.

In fact, all the text for this hub was created by using Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 Preferred. I would definitely recommend Dragon NaturallySpeaking to anyone that does a lot of writing on their computer.

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    • profile image

      Cassandra D. Holmes 5 years ago

      I will definitely be buying this software ASAP.

      Thank you & GOD Bless!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      I finally got this, I am loving it. Works great for sending comments too!

      Great Hub, Thanks

    • profile image

      JS 6 years ago

      Can I write or should I say format a script with Dragon? I'm really considering buying this product for my screenplay.

    • jeremytorres profile image

      jeremytorres 6 years ago

      Informative hub.

    • profile image

      tiredhands 6 years ago

      nevermind, I found my answer. Thanks =)

    • profile image

      tiredhands 6 years ago

      Is there a headset that is compatable with the dragon home edition v11 for windows and a macbook? however, i have a dual partitioned computer and have installed the software on the windows drive. Im having problems with the sound level on the mic regardless of any troubleshooting i've tried. any tips? Thanks =)

    • profile image

      Billy 6 years ago

      This is truly a great software. I went from 12 words per min. to 48 words per min. very accurate also.

    • profile image

      Diane 6 years ago

      My husband does not use a computer. Typing just isn't his thing nor is being able to even turn the computer on. He is retired & I still work so he is home alot by himself. He would like to play games on the computer and/or surf the web. Would my Windows Vista be appropriate & easy for him or would you recommend Dragon 11. Thank you, I hope you can advise us.

    • profile image

      Brenda Neidig 6 years ago

      I got my Dragon program for a Christmas present a couple years ago and I absolutely love it! I had multiple strokes in 2002 and was left paralyzed on the left side. My eyesight was also affected somewhat. Typing with one finger was exasperating for me! Dragon was a godsend to me!!

      Thumbs up to the creator into my children for giving this to me! Sincerely, Brenda Neidig

    • lexurio profile image

      lexurio 6 years ago from santa's village

      Although it may not prove useful for those who can type fast it sure would help people with disabilities so it's worth having it for them

    • profile image

      raisani 7 years ago

      how does one use the Test feature in Dragon professional Medical?

    • profile image

      RichmondCat 7 years ago

      Can I install Dragon Speak on multiple computers - yes, up to five according to the literature.

      Does it work with Excel? Yes, to a point. See this site for more information and tips

    • profile image

      reggie 7 years ago

      what wireless microphone can I buy so as not to be tied to the computer. Also, can the program be used on my 2 computers or can I just place it on one and use it only on that one. Thanks, Reggie

    • profile image

      Jan 7 years ago

      My son has cerebral palsy, so his speeech can change from time to time. Do you have a suggestion about the best microphone for accuracy. Which version is better 10 or 11.

    • profile image

      leka808 7 years ago

      I saw this on tv the other night and was really interested in getting it for my mom since she can't type fast and doesn't like staying on the computer too long. Being from Hawai'i and we use a lot of local terms, such as "Aloha", or "Mahalo", will the Dragon be able to spell these words out correctly? Just wondering...

      MAHALO! =)

    • profile image

      Sam Obrien 7 years ago

      I have found Dragon Software to be difficult with the Irish Accent (Southern). So if it misrepresents a word I will type it, save it and teach it... next time no problems. I bought a head set and microphone from PC world £9 works great, it is plugged in via USB.


    • profile image

      Christine 7 years ago

      Does anyone have experience using this program with MS Excel and/or PowerPoint? Is the Premium Version better than the basic version?

    • profile image

      Kayla 7 years ago

      I'm a writer, and while I am a super-fast typist, I found my wrists begin hurting after extended time at the keyboard. I'd used older versions of Dragon that were somewhat frustrating, but decided to try version 10. Wow! I am very impressed! It is very accurate for me. Like someone said, it seems to get "context" so it's better to speak in longer sentences. I'm using the Standard version and I find it fantastic. There are some errors, but typically for odd names I'm using in my stories. I don't know if version 11 is much better than v. 10, but I am now tempted to try it as I'm so pleased with this one.

    • profile image

      Meeksiegirl444 7 years ago

      Question for I need a headset with an earpiece or will it work with a deskstop USB mic? I have a Logitec USB mic that records well, and I didn't know if that would be sufficient.

    • DonnaWallace profile image

      Donna Wallace 7 years ago from North Carolina

      What an interesting idea! Thank you for the helpful review.

    • profile image

      Bill Rhoades 7 years ago

      I cannot use one arm as a result of a motorcycle accident and I also know two quadraplegics who use Dragon. The usb microphone makes a world of difference in the accuracy. Dragon also 'learns' by going through your text and word docs. I actually have found it more accurate when I talk faster and don't wait for the typing to catch up to me. Perhaps it is something in it that 'understands' context. I have been using preferred versions since version 4.0 Version 10 is sooo much more accurate than version 9. I highly recommend it.

      The microphone really makes a big difference.

    • profile image

      Gary G 7 years ago

      We are implementing Dragon Medical for all our doctors and during our testing phase I have learned that the trick to dragon is that it is a learning system. Everytime you correct a word or mistake it learns from that so the next time you say a word a certain way it knows what it is.

      ANother example is when you have a cold. At first it has trouble but learns quick but the next time you have a cold - no problem at all.

      Finally, our version of dragon also comes with a choice of 56 dialect packs so the east indian physicians, for example, have their specific pronunciations addressed. Actually, I was amazed how well a particular doctor, whom none of us could understand hardly at all, worked with dragon once we loaded their dialect pack.

      Therefore, the summary is that you need to spend time to teach it.

      Ps. Don't forget to back up your voice profile as all that time spent teaching it is in there.

    • huck tooey profile image

      huck tooey 8 years ago from Vineland NJ

      Thanks for the reveiw.....Have been wanting to buy Dragon but wasn`t sure.. this wll help....thanks again

    • profile image

      johnC 8 years ago

      Ive been playing around with speech recognition in Win 7 and although much better than when I tried it about 4 years ago in XP pro, it still is very tedious to train and takes a lot of time. Although this could be mostly due to my Australian accent, teaching it to adjust to this still don't seem to be affective in a lot of cases. I got the feeling I would have to train it on around 50% of my speech for it to be useful. I found the same with Dragon about 4 years ago and was also curious if it has improved and especial for other English accents other than American and British, hence my search here.

    • Neale profile image

      Neale 8 years ago

      I have tried the vista software it is good & free but not of the caliber dragon provides for a fair price

    • MarcNorris profile image

      MarcNorris 8 years ago from Canada

      I haven't had the chance to try the Windows Vista speech recognition software as I am still using XP... so if someone out there has done both, please feel free to comment here.

      As for the headset, I have been using a Plantronics headset that was about $50 and I like it better than the one that came with the software and I will be trying it with a Bluetooth headset with my netbook soon (once I make it to the city to buy one).

    • profile image

      Caleb 8 years ago

      like peacefulparadox said. "I wonder how does Dragon compare with the built-in Windows Vista Speech recognition software?" Does anyone actually tried both? I'm looking to buy Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 Preferred for $50 at tiger direct (sale ends soon!).

      I've used vista speech recognition and didn't work well. It was very slow and it was only about 60% accurate. May i note, i was using the microphone that is integrated into my laptop and i only used it for a day. Does Dragon 10 Preferred come with a headset? and is it any good?


    • profile image

      peacefulparadox 8 years ago

      Window Vista has speech recognition built-in. Just go to Start and type "Speech Recogintion". I wonder how does Dragon compare with the built-in Windows Vista Speech recognition software?

    • MarcNorris profile image

      MarcNorris 8 years ago from Canada

      Rupert, I can understand your frustration. I know that I had some problems with it at the start, but for me it is working almost perfectly.

      In my case, I did buy a more expensive Plantronics headset, and it has been the best thing I could have done. It works a lot better than other headsets that I have used and has seemed to help with the accuracy of the software. Maybe trying out a better headset might solve your problem - it did for me.

    • profile image

      Rupert 8 years ago

      A poor typist I have lusted after dragin for some time and have now been using it for almost 6 months. Just the thought of turning it on makes me mad for it does not work profficiently at all. The time taken training has not helped so I have upped the RAM to no effect. Now I think the sound card might be the problem. But someone else suggested a new Microphone. That last might be the key for when placing it over my pate the other night it snapped in two. Curses. Any suggestions short of ritual backyard burial would be apprectiated.

    • MarcNorris profile image

      MarcNorris 8 years ago from Canada

      Though it isn't 100% accurate, the Dragon Naturally Speaking software should allow him to "type out" his own papers without having to rely on the keyboard. You might have to proof read it when it is done, but it would allow him to complete his assignments without you having to type it out.

    • profile image

      Mom 8 years ago

      I have a question about Dragon software. My 14 year old son has severe dyslexia, and I have to type most of his papers for him. Do you think this software would benefit him and be more independent?

    • profile image

      C Allan Butkus 8 years ago

      I'm in love with Dragon 10 preferred. I am a writer and I love it when a program can give me a smile. I was recently writing a murder mystery, the sheriff received a call for a doctor about an autopsy he had just completed.

      I had dictated the following, “Sheriff I found that Mr Chamberlain didn’t die from drowning; he was stabbed in the ear with an icicle.”

      What Dragon typed was, “Sheriff I found that Mr Chamberlain didn’t die from drowning; he was stabbed in the ear with a bicycle.”

    • sportsmemorabilia profile image

      sportsmemorabilia 9 years ago

      Great info, thanks!

    • MarcNorris profile image

      MarcNorris 9 years ago from Canada

      For me, I use it when I don't feel like typing or my hands need a break. My typing speed is really fast too, and Dragon rarely comes close.

      But, I do like to use it for blog posts and article writing - it helps to keep a more conversational tone.

      As for the accuracy, it gets better everytime that I use it though sometimes it can be a little frustrating, for me it does what I expect it to do.

    • ToddieM profile image

      ToddieM 9 years ago from Diamond Bar, CA

      I can't say that I'm that impressed with it. Either I type fast already, or my computer is too slow to keep up with my voice.

      Plus, even after the training, the accuracy is nowhere near 99%. Not even close.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Talking into the computer would save so much time. Great find!

    • JudithStep profile image

      JudithStep 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks for the review Marc! I've been interested in buying this software. It's now on my buy soon list.